Sunday, September 05, 2004

Boobies
In which I wonder how marketing strategies and moralism have created the articial need to "perk up" America.

I found a wonderful site through Bust.com all about breastfeeding taboos, and it really spoke to an issue that I myself have needed to deal with. While at the desk I heard a women talk about how a baby needed to be fed and I instinctively told her she could use the special study rooms if she wanted to. When I turned around she had simply sat down at the child internet area and unlatched a little section of her shirt. What a smart way to deal with breastfeeding was my thought, but if she had had to lift her shirt of show more of her breast, I might have been uncomfortable.

A few days ago, I caught myself mentally chiding a college student for not wearing a bra under her t-shirt (shock, you can her areolas through there!). What a prude I have become! I sometimes worry about the shape of my breasts, and whether or not they appear attractive. I have several shaping bras in my lingerie drawer, but they aren't very easy to sweat in, so I rarely wear them. I don't know how women wear most of th bras on the shelves-- they seem so uncomfortable and strangely shaped. I have tried on bras that flattened the bottoms of my breasts so they assumed an odd, unnatural upward tilt. No pushed up, just sort of unnaturally "up".

As a teen and a college student at a women's college, I have known girls with implants, girls who wanted implants, and girls who just really disliked their breasts. I think in some ways certain feminist practices of dissociation with motherhood have left women feeling like amazons (hack em' off!) or nymphets (these boobs will never be enslaved by babies!) . I wonder if any of my friends in womens' studies courses talked about how a downward pointed breast (i.e. sagging) enables babies to feed properly and comfortably. If it was brought up, it was never discussed with the larger school populous, many of whom were actively discussing breast enhancement or restructuring.

The way your breast looks has become very important as fashionable clothing and and fashionable body type have blurred. Even in school sex ed books, pictures of women's breasts look very "traditional," round and perky, while naturally saggy breasts are relegated to African women in National Geographic. For young women, this pretty much teaches them very early on that women who get saggy breasts do so because they don't wear bras and/or they are not white-- not because many women's breasts are just naturally shaped in a way that causes them to point downwards.

Hey, I'm still going to wear bras, and on fancy occassions I will wear my fancy bras--its a cultural norm and it makes me feel attractive. But, I will be much for conciencious of how cultural taboos can sometimes make even an Anthropology major forget what's really important.

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